family granery in one of the villages where we camp

We still have a long way to go today. The plan is to camp near the town of Mondou, the second largest town of Chad, in an area where the Fulani nomads converge at this time of the year. But first we look around at the village where we camped – last night, I hadn’t noticed that there actually was a village.

the village drums, well packed away

I like these walks, especially as we spent so much time in the truck. The village is like any other village, of course, but nice enough. We admire the rather large granary, the drums for ceremonies, the round huts. A little further is the river, used by lots of fishermen in pirogues. Along the banks villagers are busy tending the gardens that have been planted with a variety of vegetables. In the distance the occasional hippopotamus lazily shows his eyes.

a pirogue on the nearby river

laundry activities in the morning

and tending the gardens along the river

still life with watering can

some colour added

a family of hippos

and one curious enough to show his eyes

and on the road again, this is the dominant landscape

the convoy taking a round-about

and from the truck again, some extra food opportunities

the first herds of cattle start appearing along the road

one of the Fulani nomads

The nomads

The rest of the day passes fairly uneventful. We return, still in convoy, to the place where we left the truck, eat some lunch, and head further south, now back in our familiar vehicle again. And towards four o’clock we arrived at our next camping place, among the nomads. In reality, this is in the middle of nowhere: we set up the tents on a wide plain, pretty bare, with some shrubs and the occasional palm tree. In the distance are some tiny structures, and around us herds of cattle move, roughly in the direction where we came from. That it is not the first time they pass here, is obvious from the numerous droppings we first have the rake away before we can put up the tents. According to Alonso, we pay 300 Euro for the privilege.

herds of cattle moving past where we want to camp

camp ground cleaning of cow dung

the truck, and some of the tents

and another haphazard explorer in front of her own tent

and this is how the nomads camp

communal bed in the middle, belongings on top

colourful baskets

I sincerely hope that some of this money goes to the people themselves. On closer inspection the tiny structures, tucked away under a palm tree, turn out to be individual living quarters of nomad families. A platform on sticks is where they sleep at night – at least it is surrounded by a mosquito net -, and all of their belongings are stored on the roof, the pots, baskets, food. If we thought that we had seen poverty in the villages we have visited so far, we need to think again. Some of the children are naked, some women bare-breasted. It is dusty, filthy, and obviously water comes at a premium in this environment. The men have mobile phones, though, and solar panel chargers. They are listening to streamed music, and one takes photographs of the tourists, who push their lenses almost in their faces. This is also a bit embarrassing, of course, we are with more than they are, surround them, and shamelessly point our cameras. I do the same. They may be a little dirty, but these are beautiful people, not in the least helped by intricate tattoos on their faces.

one of the women, laying down

and one of the kids, naked except for the beads

and his little brother

the older children do go dressed

the two young men, enjoying their mobile phones, listening to streamed music

another heavily tattood man

a slightly more upmarket appartment

and the local transport, an ox cart

A few hundred meters further is the next family, of perhaps six to eight people. In their tiny little shelter. They appreciate their privacy from their neighbours. Last thing you want is tourists. But you want their money. Difficult choice?

next: to Cameroon

Tagged with →  

2 Responses to 10 March 2023

  1. Thea Oudmaijer says:

    Slapen jullie altijd in een tent?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *